What’s In A Name

Country of OriginJapan
Tokyo, Kanto

‘Katsu’ (カツ) n. (ca. 1948) : short for Japanese word, ‘Katsuretsu’ (カツレツ), which translates to ‘cutlet’.

Cutlet n. : a portion of meat, usually grilled or fried and often covered in breadcrumbs.

Portion of meat – Check! Fried – Check! Covered in breadcrumbs – Check!

The Torikatsu (Japanese for Chicken Katsu Curry) is a culinary derivation; i.e. the result of a chef substituting the classic, authentic, and fatty pork fillet/loin for an alternative, Western, and lean breast of chicken. However, there are more similarities than there are differences between the two. For instance, the curry sauce. Both dishes are served with the same Tonkatsu sauce – a thick brown Japanese gravy made from pureeing vegetables. In addition, the Torikatsu is also served with a healthy portion of rice and shredded vegetables.

Despite its derivative nature, the dish has surprisingly gained a huge following in Australia, California, and Hawaii, where it said to be as common as the original Tonkatsu.

Our Connection

どこ (Where)Wagamama – Dubai, UAE
いつ (When)
April, 2019

There’s always a first. For all the times I have eaten at Wagamama’s, I had never ordered the Katsu Curry. Until one spring evening, when my mum and I decided to go out for a meal given that we were the only two at home and no one really did feel like cooking.

The dish wasn’t exactly what I had imagined it to be – the curry sauce not particularly inviting on the eyes. However, as they say you shouldn’t really judge a book by its cover; nor a dish by its presentation. Else, owners of roadside eateries would be out of a job and on the streets (without a purpose this time!). The Panko crusted chicken was crispy on the outside and moist inside, while the curry sauce was a perfect blend of spices, with just the right hint of sweetness.

I wonder what it was that tempted me to recreate this Japanese Kessaku? I suppose it’s because the dish was so simple yet satisfying! 


Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 30 mins Rest Time 5 mins Total Time 55 mins
Servings: 3
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


"When East meets West, pouring curry sauce over fragrant jasmine rice and crispy breaded chicken isn't weird, it's simply THE BEST! Kono Torikatsu Arigato!"


Breaded Chicken

Katsu Curry



  1. Roughly chop the red onions, carrots, and garlic cloves

  2. In a large wok/pot, pour a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and bring it over a high heat

  3. Once the oil is warm, add the bay leaf, chopped cloves of garlic, and red onions. Sauté until the onions turn translucent

  4. Add the chopped carrots to the pot and continue to sauté until the carrots become soft 

  5. Once the carrots are soft and slightly malleable, add the plain flour whilst continuously stirring the vegetables

  6. Once the flour has mixed in with the vegetables, add the curry powder.1 Stir until the vegetables are coated with the powder

  7. Pour the water in a kettle and bring it up to a boil. While the water is boiling, break the vegetable stock cube2 into small pieces and add them to a long cup. Pour the boiling water into the cup and stir until the stock dissolves

  8. Pour the liquid vegetable stock into the pot. Stir while scraping the bottom of the pan, ensuring that any stuck curry powder dissolves into the stock as well

  9. Leave the curry to boil on medium-high heat for roughly 10-15 minutes or until the curry reaches a thick gravy/custard texture

  10. While the curry is boiling, it is time to turn our attention to the rice. Add the jasmine rice to a colander, and rinse until the water flowing through is clear. Add the washed rice to a large bowl, submerge it in water,3 and place it in the rice cooker4 to cook through

  11. It's now time to turn our attention to the chicken. The first step is to butterfly the chicken breasts5

  12. Once the breasts have been butterflied, place them, one at a time, on your cutting board, place a sheet of cling film over the chicken and cutting board, and with the help of a thick, flat surface,6 beat the chicken until it is thin and even all over

  13. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper powder

  14. Prepare four bowls:

    1. The first with plain white flour
    2. Crack the eggs into the second bowl, and whisk until all of the egg whites dissolve in the yolk
    3. The third with the panko breadcrumbs
    4. The fourth is to place the uncooked, breaded chicken 
  15. Dip both side of one of the seasoned, butterflied chicken breasts into the first bowl (flour). Shake off any excess flour before adding it to the next bowl (egg). Once coated in egg wash, dunk the breast into the third bowl (breadcrumbs), ensuring that the chicken is well coated in the breadcrumbs. Carefully, place the uncooked, breaded chicken in the fourth bowl

  16. Repeat the process for the rest of the butterflied chicken breasts

  17. By now, the curry must've reached the desired consistency and texture. Sprinkle the brown sugar, garam masala, and soy sauce into the pot and give it a good stir. Let the curry continue to boil for another 5 minutes

  18. Once the curry is ready, pour it through a sieve,7 into a large heatproof bowl

  19. Pour the vegetable oil (re: breaded chicken) into a large sauté pan and bring it over a high heat 

  20. Once the oil reaches the right temperature,8 carefully add the breaded uncooked chicken breasts into the pan. Fry the chicken until the breadcrumbs turn nice and golden brown on the outside, and the chicken is fully cooked through 

  21. Slice the breaded chicken just before you're about to serve, and fill a small bowl to the brim with jasmine rice 

  22. To Serve (per serving): Place the sliced breaded chicken breasts on a plate, upend the bowl of rice over the chicken and slowly remove the bowl (creating a rice mould), and pour the  brown curry sauce over the chicken and the rice. Serve with a side of salad leaves (optional)


1. When you add the curry powder, the mixture will turn extremely dry. Do not worry or panic!

2. Alternatively,  you can use either chicken or beef stock. You may also use ready-made liquid stock, if you find it in your local supermarket. If you are using liquid stock, you can directly pour that into the pot.

3. The ratio of water to rice is 2:1. That is, 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. 

4. It is ideal if you have a rice cooker. However, if you do not have one, don't fret. Add the washed rice to a normal cooking pot, submerge it in water, and cook on medium heat for roughly 15-20 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked through.

5. Butterflying a chicken breast involves slicing the breast, along the length while ensuring that you do not cut it all the way through. If you aren't sure of your butterflying technique, you can alternatively slice it all the way through and have two thin pieces of chicken breasts.

6. Beating the chicken breasts with a thick, flat surface will help you cook the chicken faster. However, you must ensure that the meat is even across the chicken breasts. Uneven meat will make it tough to cook as some parts will cook faster than others.

7. When you pour the curry through a sieve, only the sauce will go through, while the vegetables will get caught in the sieve. Pour a few tablespoons of water through the sieve to get every ounce of curry sauce through to the bowl. Alternatively, you can pour the entire curry into a blender and blitz until you get a smooth curry sauce.

8. To ensure that the oil is hot enough to fry the chicken, dip either the back end of a wooden spoon or wooden chopsticks into the oil; if it start to bubble around the wood then it is hot enough. You can also toss in a small piece of breadcrumb and see if they start to turn golden brown. If the oil is not hot, the chicken will soak in the oil while cooking.

9. The prices of the ingredients (table below) are only rough estimates and are subject to change!

10. As certain ingredients are common household items - salt, pepper, oil - you may not be required to purchase them, and so the cost of preparing this dish is lower.

Keywords: Chicken, Lunch & Dinner, Main Course, Non-Vegetarian

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